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Sarah Palin: Self-Made and Sabotaged

Question: Do you see a strong leader emerging within the GOP?


Dick Armey: Well, there are a great many opportunities for that leader to emerge. And by the way, when the Republican Party has itself embraced this concept, it has prospered with the voting electorate.


Well, I think right now, for example, Sarah Palin is a possibility, although you have to understand, in politics, which is about 50% personality contest, or beauty contest, or talent contest, people of deep substance can be at a disadvantage. But Sarah Palin's out there, certainly Governor Pawlenty is a very attractive option out there, Governor Romney, Governor Haley Barber from Mississippi. There are a great many people that can possibly emerge as leader. But they cannot win the embrace of these folks unless they show a deep-seated commitment to the conservative, small government principles.


I'll give you an example. George Herbert Walker Bush, before you were born, won the Presidency, which was in effect, Ronald Reagan winning a third term. He quickly became a bitter disappointment to this same block of voters when he raised taxes in 1990 in violation of his tax pledge of 1988; that "Read my lips. No new taxes." He lost his Presidency, his chance for a second term when he raised those taxes in the fall of '90. That created this large of group of disappointed voters who what? They went to Ross Perot.


Now everybody said, well Ross Perot came in as a spoiler and took George Bush's winning chance away, but that's not true at all. Those voters were made available to Ross Perot by George Bush in 1990. So, bang, they were left with that. Then there was the confusion that had Clinton – all of a sudden, these same voters are reawakened by the Contract and they come back to the Republican Party and supported the Contract. Now what you see is those same voters got disillusioned with everybody and stayed home. Barack Obama wins the election and then the next election, which you are going to see is a reawakening of these voters on behalf of the Republican Party if the Republican Party can once again comprehend it and come home to these voters. They can win a lot of elections with these folks.


Question: Can Palin ever unite and not divide voters?


Dick Armey: Yeah. First of all, I feel bad for Sarah Palin. First thing you've got to understand about Sarah Palin is she is her own person and she made her position in life on her own terms. She wasn't somebody's wife, she wasn't somebody’s daughter, she got out, and she won the governorship of Alaska – no small task all on her own with nothing paving the way for her. So, in some respects, she's everything that Hillary Clinton pretends to be: an independent woman making her own way on her own terms.


Now, her problem was, she became a Vice Presidential candidate. This is a fatal place to be. Now what happens, we saw the same thing years ago with Dan Quayle. As soon you become the Vice Presidential candidate, a new attractive face on the block, and you have a great success like her first acceptance speech at the convention. The Presidential candidate's staff begins to sabotage you. Because the last thing they want is the new Vice Presidential candidate to outshine their guy.


So, she was subjected to all of the difficulties that naturally befall in politics; which is a curious form of juvenile delinquency – so she got battered pretty badly. She has to come back from that and make her own way again on her own terms and not be – and I don't know whether it will be possible for her to do so. She is so demonized by so many different forces; it’s very hard to come back from that. Right now, the fashionable thing is to be intellectually and morally superior than those Palin supporters, and fashionableness has a lot of influence over people's behavior politically.


Governor Pawlenty, for example, has a chance to make a fresh new start without that difficulty that she had to experience. I think the new fresh face – this is another thing, nobody can look at Pawlenty and say, "Well, you were a part of that gang that broke our heart just a few years ago." So, he's got a great opportunity to make a good start. I don't know what happens with Mitt Romney. One of the problems in politics is they're so shallow and short-sighted. If you didn't win four years ago, it is presumed that you can't possibly be the guy that can win now. I guess they forget Ronald Reagan losing in '76 and coming back and winning in '80.


So, there are a lot of people, but they're going to have to make a new and hard revival of their standing with people and they can do that within this context of the new energy in the politics in America, the dominant energy in politics in America is a small government, conservative movement.

Recorded on November 11, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen

"She's everything that Hillary Clinton pretends to be: an independent woman making her own way on her own terms," says Dick Armey.

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A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

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  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.